What does ‘Men without Work: America’s Invisible Crisis’ Really Mean?

I had the pleasure of attending a recent talk put on by AEI and Junior Achievement—Rocky Mountain with Dr. Nick Eberstadt titled “Men Without Work: America’s Invisible Crisis”. When I RSVP’d to this talk, I was hesitant, thinking I was walking into a “misogamist, patriarchy trap”, but was surprised and intrigued by the subject matter.

The Overall Point of the Talk?

People are not working as much as they should be. Over the last 50 years, the structure of the US government and its subsidies allowed another “class” of workers to emerge. Before governmental help programs, Dr. Eberstadt stated there were two different classes of worker; employed or looking for a job (unemployed). After these programs were introduced, the permanently out of employment or “nonworking” group, aka people who are not employed nor looking for employment. According to Dr. Eberstadt, for everyone one employed man, there are three nonworking men — resulting in around 7 million “idle guys” in the United States.

Which Men are We Talking about Here?

When you break down what the demographics look like, men with college and graduate degrees are underrepresented and men with high school diplomas or drop outs are overrepresented. Married men are underrepresented, possibly due to a feeling of needing to provide when you have a partner or child part of your unit. Finally, foreign men are underrepresented and native born are overrepresented. Of native born minorities, black men are overrepresented while Asian and Latino men are relatively underrepresented.

This is a Global Thing, Right?

Nope, it isn’t. Although there is a general uptick in the “nonworking” men in developed nations, there are no countries that have numbers comparable to the United States’. Dr. Eberstadt stated America’s issue is all about attitudes, values, perceptions and behavior. It is true that part of the issue has to do with the collapse in demand for certain goods, globalization, outsourcing, etc – but according to Dr. Eberstdt, although economic change is part of it, it’s an issue with America. In the US, we’re doing worse than Switzerland, the Netherlands and Australia who are just as globalized. There are no clues within NAFTA, recessions, the internet boom, etc. that show an apparent economic factor for it around the world.

So..What is the Issue Making this a Crisis in the United States?

Disability insurance and other government programs have financed the “flight from work”. Although Dr. Eberstadt was careful to say it is not the cause, only the financier, three out of five men in the “non-labor force” report to accept one or more disability life insurances. Although living off this insurance is not a ‘good’ life, it is an alternative lifestyle and way to survive to working. The men without high school diplomas are getting at least one disability payment and a slightly higher portion are enrolled in Medicaid. This is another crippling issue for the US economy; Medicaid is partially responsible for funding the opioid epidemic. According to his findings, Iowa has the least amount of men out of the workforce, West Virginia has the most. According to this study, West Virginia has the highest overdose death rate in the US, where in a given year there are 35 drug-related deaths per 100,000 people. Maine also has one of the highest rates, however, New Hampshire has one of the lowest – how do you explain that when they’re next to each other?

Isn’t the Overall Increasing Working Rate of Women over the Last 50 Years Partially to Blame?

According to Dr. Eberstadt, that’s not even a factor. Overall from 1950 to 2000, the work rates for women went way up, but the national work rate also went up. Women weren’t replacing, but augmenting men in the workforce. Since 2000, work rates for women have also been going down, they are also participating in the “non-labor force”. It would appear men and women are both feeling the same pain, but men are feeling it in far greater numbers. Men were hurt more with the downfall of manufacturing, but this downfall didn’t affect the US the same way as other countries which depended on manufacturing, like Australia and Sweden.

Ideas about Fixing This?

Dr. Eberstadt made it clear that he simply wants to highlight the issue and is not necessarily the person to solve the issue. He thinks fixing some family dynamics and restoring faith in a civil society are some of the first steps. Other people suggest reforming the government, revitalizing small business, and reducing taxes and regulations, especially for small businesses. One of the most agreed upon first steps is reforming the disability program to what it is supposed to do, not as an alternative method of survival. Here is a map of every bill currently proposed in the US that has to do with “Disability Insurance”.

The future of jobs is something we are all wary of, what will become of many of the most important jobs in the US with automation, robotics and artificial intelligence? To Dr. Eberstadt, the race is between education and technology. We need to give our people the skills they need to remain valuable contributors to our economy; with the increasing pace of change, that means we need to implement truly lifelong learning.

In the words of Yogi Berra, “predicting is hard, especially about the future”. Do you have any thoughts on how to fix this issue and propel the US economy forward and get men back to work? What are your thoughts about the future of the workforce? On disability insurance and Medicaid?

I had the pleasure of attending a recent talk put on by AEI and Junior Achievement—Rocky Mountain with Dr. Nick Eberstadt titled “Men Without Work: America’s Invisible Crisis”. When I RSVP’d to this talk, I was hesitant, thinking I was walking into a “misogamist, patriarchy trap”, but was surprised and intrigued by the subject matter.

The Overall Point of the Talk?

People are not working as much as they should be. Over the last 50 years, the structure of the US government and its subsidies allowed another “class” of workers to emerge. Before governmental help programs, Dr. Eberstadt stated there were two different classes of worker; employed or looking for a job (unemployed). After these programs were introduced, the permanently out of employment or “nonworking” group, aka people who are not employed nor looking for employment. According to Dr. Eberstadt, for everyone one employed man, there are three nonworking men — resulting in around 7 million “idle guys” in the United States.

Which Men are We Talking about Here?

When you break down what the demographics look like, men with college and graduate degrees are underrepresented and men with high school diplomas or drop outs are overrepresented. Married men are underrepresented, possibly due to a feeling of needing to provide when you have a partner or child part of your unit. Finally, foreign men are underrepresented and native born are overrepresented. Of native born minorities, black men are overrepresented while Asian and Latino men are relatively underrepresented.

This is a Global Thing, Right?

Nope, it isn’t. Although there is a general uptick in the “nonworking” men in developed nations, there are no countries that have numbers comparable to the United States’. Dr. Eberstadt stated America’s issue is all about attitudes, values, perceptions and behavior. It is true that part of the issue has to do with the collapse in demand for certain goods, globalization, outsourcing, etc – but according to Dr. Eberstdt, although economic change is part of it, it’s an issue with America. In the US, we’re doing worse than Switzerland, the Netherlands and Australia who are just as globalized. There are no clues within NAFTA, recessions, the internet boom, etc. that show an apparent economic factor for it around the world.

So..What is the Issue Making this a Crisis in the United States?

Disability insurance and other government programs have financed the “flight from work”. Although Dr. Eberstadt was careful to say it is not the cause, only the financier, three out of five men in the “non-labor force” report to accept one or more disability life insurances. Although living off this insurance is not a ‘good’ life, it is an alternative lifestyle and way to survive to working. The men without high school diplomas are getting at least one disability payment and a slightly higher portion are enrolled in Medicaid. This is another crippling issue for the US economy; Medicaid is partially responsible for funding the opioid epidemic. According to his findings, Iowa has the least amount of men out of the workforce, West Virginia has the most. According to this study, West Virginia has the highest overdose death rate in the US, where in a given year there are 35 drug-related deaths per 100,000 people. Maine also has one of the highest rates, however, New Hampshire has one of the lowest – how do you explain that when they’re next to each other?

Isn’t the Overall Increasing Working Rate of Women over the Last 50 Years Partially to Blame?

According to Dr. Eberstadt, that’s not even a factor. Overall from 1950 to 2000, the work rates for women went way up, but the national work rate also went up. Women weren’t replacing, but augmenting men in the workforce. Since 2000, work rates for women have also been going down, they are also participating in the “non-labor force”. It would appear men and women are both feeling the same pain, but men are feeling it in far greater numbers. Men were hurt more with the downfall of manufacturing, but this downfall didn’t affect the US the same way as other countries which depended on manufacturing, like Australia and Sweden.

Ideas about Fixing This?

Dr. Eberstadt made it clear that he simply wants to highlight the issue and is not necessarily the person to solve the issue. He thinks fixing some family dynamics and restoring faith in a civil society are some of the first steps. Other people suggest reforming the government, revitalizing small business, and reducing taxes and regulations, especially for small businesses. One of the most agreed upon first steps is reforming the disability program to what it is supposed to do, not as an alternative method of survival. Here is a map of every bill currently proposed in the US that has to do with “Disability Insurance”.

The future of jobs is something we are all wary of, what will become of many of the most important jobs in the US with automation, robotics and artificial intelligence? To Dr. Eberstadt, the race is between education and technology. We need to give our people the skills they need to remain valuable contributors to our economy; with the increasing pace of change, that means we need to implement truly lifelong learning.

In the words of Yogi Berra, “predicting is hard, especially about the future”. Do you have any thoughts on how to fix this issue and propel the US economy forward and get men back to work? What are your thoughts about the future of the workforce? On disability insurance and Medicaid?

I had the pleasure of attending a recent talk put on by AEI and Junior Achievement—Rocky Mountain with Dr. Nick Eberstadt titled “Men Without Work: America’s Invisible Crisis”. When I RSVP’d to this talk, I was hesitant, thinking I was walking into a “misogamist, patriarchy trap”, but was surprised and intrigued by the subject matter.

The Overall Point of the Talk?

People are not working as much as they should be. Over the last 50 years, the structure of the US government and its subsidies allowed another “class” of workers to emerge. Before governmental help programs, Dr. Eberstadt stated there were two different classes of worker; employed or looking for a job (unemployed). After these programs were introduced, the permanently out of employment or “nonworking” group, aka people who are not employed nor looking for employment. According to Dr. Eberstadt, for everyone one employed man, there are three nonworking men — resulting in around 7 million “idle guys” in the United States.

Which Men are We Talking about Here?

When you break down what the demographics look like, men with college and graduate degrees are underrepresented and men with high school diplomas or drop outs are overrepresented. Married men are underrepresented, possibly due to a feeling of needing to provide when you have a partner or child part of your unit. Finally, foreign men are underrepresented and native born are overrepresented. Of native born minorities, black men are overrepresented while Asian and Latino men are relatively underrepresented.

This is a Global Thing, Right?

Nope, it isn’t. Although there is a general uptick in the “nonworking” men in developed nations, there are no countries that have numbers comparable to the United States’. Dr. Eberstadt stated America’s issue is all about attitudes, values, perceptions and behavior. It is true that part of the issue has to do with the collapse in demand for certain goods, globalization, outsourcing, etc – but according to Dr. Eberstdt, although economic change is part of it, it’s an issue with America. In the US, we’re doing worse than Switzerland, the Netherlands and Australia who are just as globalized. There are no clues within NAFTA, recessions, the internet boom, etc. that show an apparent economic factor for it around the world.

So..What is the Issue Making this a Crisis in the United States?

Disability insurance and other government programs have financed the “flight from work”. Although Dr. Eberstadt was careful to say it is not the cause, only the financier, three out of five men in the “non-labor force” report to accept one or more disability life insurances. Although living off this insurance is not a ‘good’ life, it is an alternative lifestyle and way to survive to working. The men without high school diplomas are getting at least one disability payment and a slightly higher portion are enrolled in Medicaid. This is another crippling issue for the US economy; Medicaid is partially responsible for funding the opioid epidemic. According to his findings, Iowa has the least amount of men out of the workforce, West Virginia has the most. According to this study, West Virginia has the highest overdose death rate in the US, where in a given year there are 35 drug-related deaths per 100,000 people. Maine also has one of the highest rates, however, New Hampshire has one of the lowest – how do you explain that when they’re next to each other?

Isn’t the Overall Increasing Working Rate of Women over the Last 50 Years Partially to Blame?

According to Dr. Eberstadt, that’s not even a factor. Overall from 1950 to 2000, the work rates for women went way up, but the national work rate also went up. Women weren’t replacing, but augmenting men in the workforce. Since 2000, work rates for women have also been going down, they are also participating in the “non-labor force”. It would appear men and women are both feeling the same pain, but men are feeling it in far greater numbers. Men were hurt more with the downfall of manufacturing, but this downfall didn’t affect the US the same way as other countries which depended on manufacturing, like Australia and Sweden.

Ideas about Fixing This?

Dr. Eberstadt made it clear that he simply wants to highlight the issue and is not necessarily the person to solve the issue. He thinks fixing some family dynamics and restoring faith in a civil society are some of the first steps. Other people suggest reforming the government, revitalizing small business, and reducing taxes and regulations, especially for small businesses. One of the most agreed upon first steps is reforming the disability program to what it is supposed to do, not as an alternative method of survival. Here is a map of every bill currently proposed in the US that has to do with “Disability Insurance”.

The future of jobs is something we are all wary of, what will become of many of the most important jobs in the US with automation, robotics and artificial intelligence? To Dr. Eberstadt, the race is between education and technology. We need to give our people the skills they need to remain valuable contributors to our economy; with the increasing pace of change, that means we need to implement truly lifelong learning.

In the words of Yogi Berra, “predicting is hard, especially about the future”. Do you have any thoughts on how to fix this issue and propel the US economy forward and get men back to work? What are your thoughts about the future of the workforce? On disability insurance and Medicaid?

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sarahevelynnjohnson

Photography enthusiast, creative ambitions, always smile.

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